Modern business environments are fast-paced and ever-evolving, and with that comes the demand for learning and development programmes to ensure a clear and effective process can be followed. However, in a post-COVID business world, typical learning and development strategies have had to adapt quickly, so how has it affected businesses around the globe?
First, let’s tackle the definition of learning and development.
What is learning and development?
Learning and development, or L&D, is essentially a subset of Human Resources and focuses on creating and developing a culture where both the company and the employee (on an individual level), can learn and grow.
It’s about understanding the company’s future capability needs as well as creating environments where employees are always engaged and equipped to self-develop..
How learning and development works
Learning and development isn’t necessarily the same in every company because by definition, learning and development encompasses various different factors. Specifically, a small company such as a creative start-up will likely have different learning and development policies and needs in contrast to a large, corporate company.
Learning and development policies for small companies
Learning and development in smaller companies may be headed by an operations manager or someone with HR responsibilities, as opposed to an entire Human Resources team.
Budget typically plays a big role if you need to scale learning and development but the availability of on-the-job and digital learning makes it pretty accessible.
Instead, smaller companies may choose to ditch a highly structured learning and development programme in favour of more personal training, 1-1 support meetings and just-in-time online resources.. This is actually a very attractive prospect for many potential employees because the L&D programmes are typically more personal, agile and bespoke to the employee’s needs.
It’s especially important to place a strong focus on learning and development in smaller businesses due to the speed in which they grow. In a nutshell, employees may find themselves being thrust into new roles and encouraged to learn new skills and processes quickly.
This is what’s known as ‘social learning’, which is where you learn on the go from your managers, team members or other peers within an external network.
Just by researching, listening and working with others, you can pick up new skills and adapt them as you work, a complete contrast to corporate learning and development, which we’ll get onto soon.
The benefits of learning and development programmes in smaller businesses
- On-the-go learning without intense, structured learning programmes
- More personal, agile L&D plans to develop their skills which can flex quickly
- Mentoring and coaching support that’s often more readily available
- Much faster career development into broader, more specialist or more senior roles
Learning and development policies for large companies
Unlike smaller companies, most large organisations will have a team, part of a Human Resources or People function, dedicated to learning and development, and developing training programmes.
In most cases, larger companies won’t hold one-to-one employee meetings to deliver training sessions, instead, they may hire specialists to deliver formal training programmes either as face-to-face or virtual classroom. Alternatively, they may opt for scale and provide online training courses and resources that employees can access when they need it or as part of a more formal skills and development plan.
The benefits of learning and development programmes in larger businesses
- Tailored programmes specific to their roles
- Roadmaps that follow tickbox formats to provide guidance on their career progression which often provides more visibility
- Specialist teams and plans backed by leading L&D companies and industry good practice
- Bigger budget for bespoke training and development programmes
Whilst an essential factor for everyone, the key difference between learning and development in smaller companies when compared to larger companies comes down to self-motivation. Employees in smaller companies arguably have more control over their progression, because there typically isn’t a strict L&D plan, career journey or process to follow. In larger companies, the plan may already be drawn-up for them to allow for more structured progression paths and fast-track for people who have been identified with potential.
How has Covid-19 affected learning and development?
The cancellation of face-to-face meetings, and the 21st century workplace as we know it has forced businesses to swiftly adapt their learning and development model to adhere to the restrictive COVID guidelines.
But, is it all bad?
There is a strong argument that COVID has positively forced businesses to broaden their horizons with regards to new, innovative and adaptive modalities for learning. For many organisations already underway with digital transformation plans the response to COVID has accelerated these to the power of ten with a number of goals, including:
- To support a direct response to COVID in terms of compliance, new processes and ways of working for both front line employees and remote workers
- To enable business continuity by porting current face-to-face learning and development plans online
- To help employees develop new skills as business models pivot as a result of the crisis
Such a rapid digital adoption has forced businesses to reevaluate their learning and development strategies to make it easy for all employees to get access to L&D programmes and resources.
COVID has still brought about new learning and development challenges
Of course, COVID hasn’t come without its problems for business, the most notable being whole departments furloughed or even made redundant. Budgets for learning and development have in many cases been cut, and it’s not simply a case of pressing the pause button on critical workplace learning.
The good news is that despite the impact of COVID, businesses have had to quickly adapt their L&D policies and programmes for online access. As many businesses continue to support remote and flexible working, the demand for accessible online learning and development programmes will continue to rise.
There are so many online tools, platforms and content to help with corporate learning, training and development that companies can use their teams, and this is where we can help.
Learning and development through StoryTagger
Most video apps focus on filming what’s in front of the camera, whereas StoryTagger guides people to reflect and share their own learning experiences. It’s designed to build confidence in self-filming and help people share knowledge fast. It promotes positive and agile new ways of working as well as keeping our human connection with each other – something that’s crucial in our current climate.
StoryTagger not only saves time and money, but offers versatility and accessibility in the post-COVID business world. Our platform lets you curate powerful L&D campaigns and stories that can be filmed and accessed by your employees anywhere, anytime.
It’s also ideal for boosting team morale, use it to increase employee engagement through sharing knowledge, capturing rich video feedback and communicating authentic leader updates.
Take a few minutes to watch our easy tutorial to learn more about how we can help your business adapt its L&D programmes through COVID.
The future of learning and development
One of the biggest questions surrounding learning and development is whether it will continue this new, online resource and self-driven learning-based model or return to include more traditional, face-to-face classroom learning.
We think it depends on what each business needs right now, and in the future, and how technology can reach those goals in the most efficient and effective way. Cheryl Clemons, CEO of StoryTagger believes that:
“A lot of organisations understandably have had to accelerate their digital transformation plans for L&D during the first phase of lock-down or simply port their existing face-to-face programmes online. As we settle into the ‘new normal’ L&D teams will have to regularly step back and assess how they can meet the changing needs of the business and their people. New video and learning technologies will play a significant part in helping everyone rethink and redesign corporate learning in a post-COVID world.”